Whether everything was a trap or not, the disciples still needed to go forward with investigating this place. After all, this was the only way to find information about what the other side had planned.
They stood at the entrance for a moment longer, everyone pondering by themselves to get a better grasp of the situation.
“May I suggest that we take a closer look around outside?” This was the idea that Xi Ju Hai finally arrived at. “That way, we might be able to find out where exactly this is. Being able to locate every single one of these places on a map of the border region would be beneficial in my opinion. Maybe there is some kind of pattern that we should know about.”
Zhi Guan nodded, feeling that this suggestion was quite good. He glanced at Shen Lei and the others who also nodded and then picked out five disciples to go while the rest stayed at the entrance, ready to be the backup in case they encountered some demonic practitioners after all.
Mei Chao Bing was among the people staying behind to be backup. If it had been any other group, he would’ve thought that this might be because they didn’t trust him enough and figured that he would meet up with some kind of informant of the demonic faction. In this group though, that thought didn’t even cross his mind.
Clearly, Shen Lei didn’t mind his past and neither did Zhi Guan. And even though he had had a problem with Song Mu before, it wasn’t quite the same. He felt like despite everything, Song Mu still trusted him. Xi Ju Hai might be different but even she wasn’t that outspoken and was able to contain her personal feelings in favor of the big picture. The disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect didn’t need to be mentioned. It wasn’t even clear if they knew that he was Elder Feng’s disciple.
Outside, the others looked around. Since she had made the suggestion, Xi Ju Hai was naturally one of them. She figured that since there had been an array around inside, there might also be some outside so it also made sense to send her because of that. There were also two disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect, as well as Song Mu and another disciple that had originally been traveling with Zhi Guan.
They split off into two groups, slowly making their way around the entrance of the building, keeping in mind what Zhi Guan had told them back inside and keeping out of sight wherever they could.
Song Mu looked up at the face of the building, his expression solemn. “This isn’t looking good.”
Xi Ju Hai who was accompanying him since they had worked together before in the original group also looked up. “There should be several floors to this. And judging from that hall, the layout won’t be simple. The outside is just proof of that.”
Song Mu nodded. “I’m afraid we won’t be able to investigate this whole place.”
Xi Ju Hai gave a hum but didn’t say anything more. In any case, this was what Zhi Guan would have to decide on. After they had an initial impression, that would be made easier. Thus, the most important right now was to find out more.
The two of them went around the building on the left side, trying to look for any kind of landmarks that might help with determining just where they were. Unfortunately, neither of them recognized anything. After about two dozen minutes, they returned to the entrance just when the other group also came back. They exchanged a glance and then stepped inside and closed the door behind them.
“How is it?”
Xi Ju Hai shook her head. “We didn’t find any arrays and also no indication of where we were.”
The disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect nodded their heads. “Neither did we. It seems that this building has been built into some kind of mountain. At the very least, there was a lot of stone on our side that the building almost seemed to grow out of. I could imagine that part of it is just caved out of the mountain. But I’m not sure where exactly we would have the conditions for that in the border region.”
Zhi Guan nodded. “Well, it doesn’t matter. The others might know more. We’ll just have to report back. Keep in mind that this means that we will likely be underground soon if we go further inside. That means that fleeing will be more difficult and we have to be extra careful no matter where we go.”
Shen Lei gave a grunt, clearly not happy. “In that case, we should probably stay together. In a large group, our fighting chance will be higher.”
“I agree.” Zhi Guan looked at the others, trying to see what they thought. Nobody had a differing opinion so Zhi Guan finally motioned back to where they had originally come from. “Let’s check one side of the corridors first and then the other, and finally the back.”
The disciples nodded once again and then returned to the hall, once again giving it a sweeping glance before they went over to the left side where the disciple of the Zhen Yan Sect had said they had seen the mountain. It was quite likely that these corridors would lead further into the building. But that also meant that they might find more clues even if they had to brave greater dangers. It was a risk they just had to take. In this fight, there weren’t any alternatives.